Over the course of its more than 100-year history, this four-generation family business has become one of the’s most prominent menswear luxury fashion houses.

“My grandfather founded this business in 1910, after being born with this desire to become a weaver, and subsequently the best weaver in the world,” says Paolo Zegna, one of the heirs to the Italian empire.

Starting from humble beginnings with a big vision, Ermenegildo Zegna’s reputation as the top purveyor of fine quality fabrics spread far and wide. Since then, Ermenegildo Zegna has grown and established 320 shops around
the world. Nowadays, with a range that includes knitwear, suits, accessories, leather goods, and more, the brand has become synonymous with tradition, quality, and style.

The brand is distributed throughout different markets; however, there are many similarities between the Zegna customers throughout the world. “Our customers are becoming younger, around 30 years,” Paolo Zegna says, describing them as professionals with good spending power, who appreciate quality and refinement. “There are countries which are a bit more formal like Japan, and countries that are less formal in Europe. But the spirit of the collection is universal.”

The Zegna group has its own intimate relationship with South Africa, and has been importing mohair from local producers for years. In 1970 Zegna established the first Mohair Trophy as an incentive for growers of the
best-quality fibre. “We give support to the growers, in South Africa, Australia, and Peru and from time to time we like to recognise the value of their work”, says Paolo Zegna, who was visiting South Africa for the 46th edition of the competition.

One of Ermenegildo Zegna’s latest developments is the appointment of Alessandro Sartori as the brand’s artistic director. Sartori returns to Zegna after a five-year tenure at Berlutti, and showed his first collection at recently at Milan Fashion Week.

“He it the perfect fit,” Paolo Zegna says. “He was born in the same village where the company was established. He is one of us and knows the history, the philosophy, and the background of the products.”

And what makes the perfect suit, according to Paolo Zegna? “It depends on the occasion, the time of the day, and what you are doing. In the end it is about whether you feel good in whatever you are wearing,” he says.


PAOLO ZEGNA WEARS

Suit, shirt, tie, and shoes, all Ermenegildo Zegna.

Image: Sally Shorkend

ZEGNA RECOMMENDS

Favourite city? Hong Kong. I love the atmosphere, the lights, the landscape, and the mix of the old and the new.

Favourite fragrance? Italian Bergamot by Ermenegildo Zegna from the Essenze Collection

Favourite restaurant? A fish restaurant called Giacomo in Milan, which serves the nicest pizza. I have been going there for the longest time.

Secret to success? Be yourself. When you have an idea, and a desire to bring it forward, believe in it and you will be successful.

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